Saturday, September 24, 2016

No. 1 Alabama rolls Kent State 48-0, loses Harris to injury

 Jalen Hurts ran and passed for a touchdown and tailback sub Joshua Jacobs scored his first two career touchdowns in No. 1 Alabama's 48-0 win Saturday over Kent State.
The Crimson Tide (4-0) dominated coach Nick Saban's alma mater from the start while scoring on a kickoff return and even a short touchdown throw to freshman linebacker Mack Wilson. The bad news for Alabama is starting tailback Damien Harris went down on the opening drive with a sprained right ankle and didn't return.
Harris was hardly needed in this game, when No. 2 quarterback Blake Barnett played much of the way and the emerging freshman Jacobs ran for 97 yards. It amounted to a Saturday afternoon respite for the Tide after a bruising 48-43 comeback win over No. 23 Mississippi.
"The goal going into this game was to play a complete game, start fast, finish, and I think we probably did that as well as we've done all year," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Hurts was 16-of-24 passing for 164 yards and ran for 54 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to cap the opening drive. He found Wilson, who lines up at fullback in goal line situations, for a 1-yard third-quarter score that was supposed to go to tight end O.J. Howard.
"It's his first career (touchdown), so I can't be mad about that," Howard said. "I'm happy somebody caught it."
He did catch a 34-yarder from Barnett, who first got into the game early in the second quarter. Saban said Harris is "day to day" and his status is uncertain against Kentucky.
Alabama did whatever it wanted in the first half, outgaining Kent State 352-53 and amassing a 41-0 lead. The Golden Flashes, who had trailed Penn State 16-13 at halftime in the opener, managed just 13 passing yards in the first three quarters before finally driving in the fourth.
Backup quarterback George Bollas was initially given a touchdown on a fourth-quarter run toward the goal line, but was ruled down at the 1 after a review.
Most of the fans, including all but a handful of students, were long gone by then.
THE TAKEAWAY
Kent State: Didn't have much go right in the game, but gets a chance to bounce back in Mid-American Conference play when the playing field is more even.
Alabama: Dominated in every phase of the game (including a 502-166 advantage in total yards) and got plenty of reserves action, most notably Barnett and Jacobs. Harris's health was the only major issue, though receivers ArDarius Stewart and Robert Foster sat out to rest injured knees. Both are questionable against Kentucky.
POLL IMPLICATIONS
Alabama can't be ranked any higher than No. 1 and this game wasn't much of an opportunity to impress poll voters anyway.
SHUTOUT
It was the Tide's 18th shutout under Saban. "That's what we're looking for every week," linebacker Ryan Andersonsaid. "We're glad we were able to go out there and do it and glad the second team was able to uphold that standard."
UP NEXT
Kent State hosts Akron in homecoming game and MAC opener.
Alabama hosts Kentucky in its first SEC home game.

No comments: